Welcome to the New Faces of Sheep Production at SDSU

In a changing of the guard, SDSU said goodbye this year to Dr. Jeff Held and Dave Ollila. These two individuals have provided many years of service to South Dakota’s sheep industry.  We welcomed two new individuals at the beginning of the current school year. I’ve had the great pleasure of meeting these women and am excited for their future in shaping South Dakota’s sheep industry.

Kelly Froehlich, SDSU Extension Sheep Specialist (Brookings)

Kelly Froehlich is a Minnesota native and originally grew up on a hydroponic lettuce and tomato farm. At the age of 13, she convinced her parents to get only a ‘few’ sheep and has since been involved in the industry. She served as ‘Lambassador’ for the Minnesota Lamb and Wool Producers Association, and guided her flock through Minnesota’s OPP Eradication trial, earning full-test negative with the state’s Board of Animal Health in 2018. Her small flock of registered Lincoln Longwools has since grown into ‘Snake River Acres,’ a family operation with 90 ewes strong. The white and natural colored wool from the flock is niche-marketed worldwide, and a small custom fiber mill has been added, with operations planned to launch early next year.

Kelly’s farming background was an asset in her academic ventures. She holds two B.S. degrees in Animal Science as well as Agricultural Education from UMN, and a M.S. in Dairy Science from SDSU. The last few years found her living in New Zealand while pursuing her doctorate in Animal Science at Lincoln University. Her PhD was focused on loline, a secondary plant metabolite found in fescue grasses, and its potential effects on microflora and internal parasites in sheep.

Dr. Froehlich looks forward to meeting South Dakota sheep producers and working alongside them to address current challenges facing the industry.

 Jaelyn Whaley-Quintana, Sheep Field Specialist (Rapid City)

Originally from Northwest Colorado, Jaelyn grew up on a diversified livestock operation raising cattle and sheep. Her family’s sheep operation was founded by her grandmother as a show lamb flock. They continue to raise show lambs but also direct to consumer market lambs through an online marketplace. Jaelyn was very active in both 4-H and FFA growing up and still tries to stay involved with these youth development organizations. After high school, Jaelyn attended Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, WY where she obtained an A.S. degree in Agriculture with a concentration in Animal Science. At LCCC Jaelyn was on the livestock judging and livestock show teams. Between her two years in Cheyenne, she took a year off school to serve as a Colorado State FFA Officer. After community college, Jaelyn attended the University of Wyoming where she worked as an undergraduate research assistant tackling various projects like a cattle rumen microbiome study and U.S. Sheep Experiment Station sire evaluation. It was during this time that she met Dr. Whit Stewart who encouraged her to continue her education. Upon completion of her B.S. degree in animal science, Jaelyn continued on to earn her Master of Science degree at UW under Dr. Stewart. During her graduate education, she also worked with Albany County 4-H as the wool judging coach for three years. Her project, funded by American Lamb Board and the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center, evaluated the effects of excessively finished lambs on the processing sector of the sheep industry. She completed her M.S. in August and began her position as the SDSU Extension Sheep Field Specialist based out of the Rapid City Regional Center in September.